Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mrs West

During and after Saturday's tramp I felt decidedly unfit, but arriving at work on Monday helped put things into perspective. My boss, at five foot nothing and (at a guess) twenty stone, would have fallen into the super-duper morbidly Embarrassing Bodies obese category. She then went on a strict diet, offloading probably a quarter of her weight, quitting smoking at the same time. Unfortunately the weight is piling back on again (stopping smoking is partly to blame perhaps). She doesn't really walk around the office - it's either a shuffle or a waddle. I had a primary school teacher - Mrs West - whose proportions were very similar. She had rough, scaly skin and often had her tongue sticking out. Her bulk was matched by a big personality that helped mask her serious shortcomings as a teacher. I remember when Mum, who did supply teaching, came into our class and corrected her spelling on the blackboard. Come to think of it, I probably corrected her spelling too. When it came to marking maths, she relied on two of her pupils (a girl and me) to check everyone else's answers against. Smacking wasn't really the done thing in 1987 but Mrs West didn't care. When she'd done with me, she was about to have my brother (a noted troublemaker) for a year, but point-blank refused to have him in her class. Mum was incensed. She was about to go into full-time teaching at another school, so she decided to move us both into her new school. We both would have been happier staying put. For the rest of my school years, that sense of being an outsider never totally went away, so Mrs West had a fair bit to answer for. She later got into windsurfing, funnily enough, and had to have a wetsuit specially made. Dad bumped into her on a recent visit. He was surprised she was still alive; she's looked in a bad way for a while. She'd be in her seventies now.

I've got one or two more things to say about school in my next post.

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